FBI Investigating link between murder of Santa Cruz deputy using IED’s and killing of Oakland federal agent


Santa Cruz, California – A proverbial bombshell has been revealed, with investigators now thinking that the alleged killer of Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department on June 6th may have also played a part in the murder of federal officer Patrick Underwood on May 29th.

The FBI remarked on the connection on June 7th, saying that the white van used in the slaying of Sgt. Gutzwiller appeared to be similar to a vehicle of interest in Underwood’s slaying. The suspect revolving around this alleged connection is Steven Carrillo.

In a statement provided by the FBI, the following was relayed regarding the investigation:

“The investigation into the incident in Ben Lomond, Calif. is ongoing. We are working with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department to determine a possible motive and/or links to other crimes committed in the Bay Area, to include the shooting of the FPS officers in Oakland.”

It just so happens that Carillo was an Air Force staff sergeant assigned to Travis Air Force base, located in California, since 2018.

The former staff sergeant’s wife, Monika Leigh Scott Carrillo, happens to be deceased. Like the suspect, Monika was also in the Air Force, but was found dead inside of a hotel room back in May of 2018.

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, ruled her death as a suicide.

Here’s our original reports regarding the two cases where Carillo may be involved: 

BEN LOMOND, CA – Officers were ambushed in a city in Santa Cruz County Saturday afternoon which resulted in a line of duty death.

Around 1:30 pm, officers responded to a call of a suspicious van parked off the road near Jamison Creek in Boulder Creek. The van was reported to contain guns and bomb-making devices.

When officers arrived, the van started driving, so officers followed it. Eventually the van pulled into a driveway on Waldeberg Road in Ben Lomond.

As officers, including Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department, got out of their vehicles to investigate, they were ambushed with gunfire and “many improvised explosives.”

Additionally, another deputy was injured and is listed as in critical condition after being “struck by gunfire or shrapnel from an explosive and then struck by a vehicle.” The vehicle is presumed to be a getaway vehicle, as it appears that after shooting and setting off explosives, the suspect fled the scene.

It’s been reported that as the suspect attempted to carjack a person, police responded to the scene. They were again met with gunfire.

A California Highway Patrol Trooper was shot in the hand or arm during the shootout.

The suspect, who has been identified as Steven Carillo, was said to be shot, presumably by police, and was taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Both of the injured officers, who have not been identified, are expected to survive.

Carillo is facing charges including murder, assault with a deadly weapon and carjacking. There will likely be more charges added as the investigation unfolds.

A local ABC News affiliate reporter, Dan Noyes, reported that Carillo, 32 years old, is an active duty US Air Force sergeant based out of Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield.

Noyes posted the following on his Facebook page:

“Sources tell me investigators found many improvised explosive devices inside Carillo’s home today, and that the FBI has taken over the case. The working theory is the sheriff’s deputies ‘interrupted something big that was about to happen.’

“On his Facebook page May 31st, Carillo reposted a meme that said, ‘I’ll never let racist white people make me forget about the dope white people I know exist. I love y’all.’ The post includes fist emojis of different skin tones, and both of the ‘whites’ in the meme were crossed out. Carillo wrote, ‘The only race that matters, the human race.’”

Sergeant Gutzwiller was 38 years old. He had been with the department since 2006. He is survived by a young child and his wife, who is expecting another child.

Sheriff Jim Hart spoke at a news conference Saturday night. He said:

“In my 32-year career, this is the worst day I’ve ever experienced.

“Words cannot express the pain we feel for Damon and his family. He was the kind of person we all hope to be. Today, we lost a hero. We are grateful to have known him and we mourn with his family.”

Sheriff Hart also said that the investigation is still underway and many details, such as a motive, are not yet known.

He said:

“There’s a lot that we don’t know at this point. I ask that the community be patient as we go through this investigation and the grieving process. Damon will be deeply missed by this community, by this family, and by all of us at the sheriff’s office. His legacy will live on in the work that we provide to Santa Cruz County Community.”

Hart also said that he was not ruling out the involvement of more suspects, although none have been announced at this time. 

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

OAKLAND, CA – We’ve now learned the identity of the federal officer who was shot and killed in Oakland, California Friday night.

Patrick Underwood, 53, was “assassinated” while trying to keep the peace amid the violent riots sweeping California and the rest of the U.S.

The riots obviously come in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota.

Now officials at the Department of Homeland Security have confirmed that the officer’s death was related to the riots in Oakland.

A second officer was reportedly wounded and is fighting for his life, listed in critical condition.

ABC7 reports according to federal officials, the two were at the Ronald Dellums Federal Building on Clay Street when a vehicle approached just before 10 p.m.

Officials say that someone in the vehicle opened fire on the contract security officers.

Over the weekend, federal officials said the officers were watching over the protests when the shooting occurred.

The officer’s sister confirmed Underwood’s death in a message on social media:

“My brother, Dave Patrick Underwood, a federal officer, was murdered 5/29/20 in Oakland California, while on duty during the riots. This Violence Must Stop.”

On Saturday in a news conference in Washington, DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf called the slaying of the officer an assassination.

“As of late we have witnessed an outright assault on our law enforcement community,” Wolf said.

“Last night in Oakland, California, an assassin cowardly shot two Federal Protective Service contractors as they stood watch over a protest.

One officer was killed, the other is in critical condition…Let me express my deepest condolences to the family members of these two FPS contractors.”

Ken Cuccinelli is the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.  He also called acts like the Oakland shooting an “act of domestic terrorism.”

“Let me be clear,” he said. “When someone targets a police officer or a police station with an intention to due harm and intimidate that is an act of domestic terrorism.

Fighting terrorism was the very reason for the founding of the Department of Homeland Security. And I said earlier we will stand behind out law enforcement officers here in the department and all over America.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom – who has a strained relationship, at best, with law enforcement – expressed his condolences to the slain officer’s family.

“This is a moment of pain for our state and nation,” he said.

“We are also mourning the tragic loss of a federal security officer and wounding of another in Oakland. Jennifer and I send our sincere condolences to their families, friends and colleagues.

No one should rush to conflate this heinous act with the protests last night. A federal investigation is underway, and we should let that process play out.”

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